Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Scimitars in the Book of Mormon

Regarding "cimeters" or scimitars, some anti-Mormon publications have alleged that scimitars were unknown in Book of Mormon times, and were not invented until the rise of Islam in the 7th century. This is another argument based on inadequate research. If the term "cimeter" refers to a curved sword, such weapons were in use in the Middle East well before 600 B.C. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of New York (a fabulous reason to visit New York!) has a curved Egyptian sword from the 23rd Dynasty, 893-870 B.C. This and a large body of additional evidence on the use of scimitars in ancient times is given by Dr. Paul Y. Hoskisson in "Scimitars, Cimeters! We Have Scimitars! Do We Need Another Cimeter?" in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), pp. 352-359. In light of the abundant evidence, Hoskisson says, "There can be no question that scimitars, or sickle swords, were known in the ancient Near East during the Late Bronze Period, that is, about six hundred years prior to Lehi's departure from Jerusalem." Evidence of scimitar-like weapons in Mesoamerica is presented by William J. Hamblin and A. Brent Merrill in "Notes on the Cimeter (Scimitar) in the Book of Mormon," in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, pp. 360-364. Also see "Swords and Cimeters in the Book of Mormon" by Matthew Roper, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1999, pp. 34-43.

Wikipedia's article on scimitars states the following, as of June 30, 2007:
Scimitars in history
In the form of the khopesh, the scimitar started playing a sometimes significant role in Middle Eastern warfare more than two millennia before the advent of Islam. Famed scholar and Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass asserts that the Egyptians of the 18th Dynasty (circa 1600 B.C.) used new weapons technologies borrowed from the Hyksos, including "the scimitar" as important tools in fostering Egypt's regional domination which characterized much of the New Kingdom period [Zahi Hawass, Tutankhamun And the Golden Age of the Pharoahs, Washington DC: National Geographic Society, 2005, p. 21-22]. Some might judge the Hawass' use of the term anachronistic but nonetheless this provides evidence for the use of something akin to the scimitar in well before the development of the Persian shamshir.

2 comments:

Derf said...

It is not the sword but the name. The scimitar (and var. spellings) is an old sword. The name came after AD622 the supposed time of the Islamic founding.

Anonymous said...

It would help Mormons if there were any ancient scimitars found in America. This arguement against the validity of the Book of Mormon is like the horse argument. There are horses in the book, but were no horses in America until later in time.